The Colorado Transportation Commission approved new rules Thursday that aim to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases spewed into the air from vehicle traffic in a move that faced opposition from rural areas and criticism from environmentalists who say they don’t go far enough.
The Department of Transportation’s commissioners hope the new rules build on the state’s push to put more electric vehicles on the road while improving mass transit, biking and walking options.
The goal is to improve the state’s air quality, reducing pollutants that cause ozone and smog by the equivalent of taking 300,000 cars off the road each year. That means shifting billions of dollars in future transportation dollars, spending less to build bigger highways and roads while increasing funding for alternate modes of transportation, such as mass transit, bicycling and walking.
The state’s transportation leaders spent the better part of a year hammering out the rules, which govern how Colorado’s five major regional planning districts — centered on its largest cities — will design and build transportation projects through 2050. The plan will be effective as of Feb. 14, with metro Denver and northern Colorado as the first areas required to comply.
“It’s a critically important milestone,” transportation commissioner Kathleen Bracke said. “It’s urgent to get going. We can’t afford to wait another day, another month, another year to get going.”